Rus Ervin Funk*
about me(n)?: How I became
an anti-pornography activist
I hate pornography. I hate what pornography does to women, what it does to men, what it says to men to do to women and other men.
In spite of my current convictions about pornography, I have not always felt this way. For much of my life I supported and actively used pornography. This essay examines my process from pro-pornography consumer to antipornography activist. As a bisexual man, I've consumed—and have since become critical of—both heterosexual and gay male pornography. As I'll explain, my experiences indicate how both are similar forms of men's sexist violence. Through the lens of my experience as a pornography consumer, I will look at what pornography says to and about men, and in particular what pornography says to men about what to do to women and other men. Finally, I will offer some observations on organizing men to become more actively involved in efforts against pornography, prostitution and other forms of men's sexist violence.
I am a European-American, thirty-something, queer-identified male from a working-class Texas background. I am an activist in the feminist movement to end men's violence as well as in the bisexual movement, in anti-racist struggles, and in the movement for anti-militarism and nonviolence. As a social worker, I have also provided therapeutic services to women and men who have been victimized by men, as well as intervention services with men who batter, and with adolescent and adult men who sexually offend. Still, my primary focus is on community organizing, direct action, and policy analysis. It seems to me that working to end men's abuse and violence, and to transform the context in which men's violence and abuse occurs (i.e. institutionalized misogyny) through social change, is as essential as providing direct services to support the women and men who are harmed.
* The author would like to thank John Stoltenberg, Amy Mudd, Robert Jensen, Dr. Robert
Miller, and Jon Cohen for their support, encouragement and editorial comments in the
drafting of this chapter. I also want to thank Christine Stark and Rebecca Whisnant for
taking the initiative for this book, and Rebecca for her editorial comments and support
for this article.